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Florida GOP Primary: Romney in the Lead, but Can Gingrich Bounce Back?

Posted on the 31 January 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
Florida GOP Primary: Romney in the lead, but can Gingrich bounce back?

Mitt Romney: In the lead? Photocredit: rawmustard

It’s the Florida primary today – an extremely important moment in the Republican Party’s race for its Presidential nomination. Florida is especially so, because the last three caucuses have been inconclusive. It looks like, so far, Mitt Romney, the Mormon zillionaire, is champing at the bit in the lead – even after his closest rival, ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, won a massive victory in South Carolina ten days ago. Romney has so far gained one win and two second place finishes. He’s also shelled out $14 milllion into Florida television advertising in order to attack Gingrich; the latter only spent $3 million. Republican Party officials expected a large turnout, with more than 2 million voters. Fox News reported that Romney is leading Gingrich by a 43-29 percent margin, and said that Florida was often seen as a state “truly representative of the American complexion” – hence the key nature of the primary. Commentators agree that Gingrich doesn’t have much of a chance, but that he could still pull back in his heartlands. Plus there is the undercurrent of anti-Mormon sentiment that has been shadowing Romney; not to mention his tax returns, and the billions he has hidden away in offshore accounts and Switzerland. So it looks like this is one more stage in a race that could go either way.

Rick Santorum is falling behind, and he and Ron Paul have yielded Florida’s primary, heading off instead to Colorado and Nevada – which are smaller contests. The race is now very much a two-nag one.

“He [Mitt Romney] can bury me for a very short amount of time with four or five or six times as much money. In the long run, the Republican Party is not going to nominate … a liberal Republican,” said Newt Gingrich in a television interview, quoted on AP News.

Newt can reboot. Shannon McAffrey on Associated Press said that Newt Gingrich faces a “tough road” out of Florida. He’s about to head into states which are favourable for Romney – Nevada’s coming up on Saturday, where Romney already has staff; Gingrich, however, has only just sent some there. Whilst Gingrich’s campaign “will redouble its efforts”, it’s coming up against the calendar – and against Romney’s “deep pockets and sophisticated ground game.” Whilst Maine is in Gingrich’s “back yard”, Romney is popular in both Colorado and Michigan. But, when the race goes back South on Super Tuesday, Gingrich will be back in his “sweet spot” in the Bible Belt. He’s fought back before – and he can fight back again.

No he can’t. On the contrary, said The New York Daily News – Gingrich is “a dead man walking.” Gingrich can still run around like a headless chicken for a while, though. Romney’s cash and organisation will see him through. Gingrich is playing on comments by George Soros, who said in a television interview at Davos that there was no difference between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

“Romney’s lead touches all the GOP bases. If this margin holds up tomorrow, it’s hard to see where Gingrich goes from here,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, quoted on Fox News .

Well, he’s certainly on the warpath. Toby Harnden in The Daily Mail  said that Gingrich’s “anti-Romney rhetoric” had gone up a notch. Calling Romney a “liberal” is pretty bad – even Democrats hate being labelled such.

“I don’t believe the Republican party is going to nominate a liberal who is pro- abortion, pro gun-control pro tax-increase pro gay-rights and I don’t think Romney can frankly raise enough money to sustain the falsehoods that are the basis of his campaign,” said Newt Gingrich, quoted on The Daily Mail.

Everyone – we need to ditch all the smearing. Alexandra Petri on her Washington Post blog said that the election has become “reality television of the worst sort.” The final four are “The final four is one Rags-To-Rankings story, one Squeaky-Voiced Old Man, one Guy We Always Knew Would Make The Finals, and one Drama Machine who keeps castigating the moderators.” The problem is that in-depth discussion is now discouraged, with attention turned to ex-wives, sex, and other fripperies. “This is one reality TV show that needs to go off the air.”

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